1 Back to realityEY Global Venture Capital Trends 2015 Back to reality: VC focus on the fundamentals in 20162016 look s set to b e th e y ear in w h ic h c omp anies w ill b e ex p ec ted to p rove th ey c an ex ec ute after w h at c an only b e desc rib ed as an ex c ep tional 2015. 2015 saw US$148 b invested th rough 8 , 38 1 deals th e h igh est Venture c ap ital ( VC) ac tivity in nearly tw o dec ades. O n a y early b asis, funding grew at 54% w h ile deal volumes rose 10 $ re ecting Global investor preference for macing fewer$ bigger bets on estab lish ed b usinesses th at are in th e later rounds of th eir fundraising j ourney and potentially closer to V; nirvana: superior returns.
2 This ight of Capital to later-stage funding rounds may also re ect the growing range of early-stage options open to start-ups loocing for modest Capital from crowdfunding to angel nvestment levels w ere h igh ac ross th e k ey VC h otb eds th e US, E urop e and Ch ina with the mabority of activity focused on the first three-iuarters of the year. Anvestments$ however$ fell bacc in the last iuarter (12 i-o-i decline) as overall marcet concerns around p ub lic mark et c onditions, valuations, b urn rates and overfunding p ut th e b rak es on investment. W ith glob al ec onomic grow th dogged b y c onc erns regarding th e strength of th e US ec onomic rec overy , stalling Ch inese grow th and p olitic al and ec onomic stress in E urop e, it is p redic ted th at stoc k mark ets are lik ely to remain volatile and greater investor c aution is inevitable.
3 ?lobal V;-bacced epit activity was soft during 2015 compared to 201, with M 9 value down by 10 y-o-y and the amount raised through V;-bacced AHGs falling by almost 20% during th e same p eriod. H ow ever, it sh ould b e noted th at 2015 ex it levels remained relatively rob ust c omp ared w ith rec ent y ears, alb eit dow n on w h at w as a stellar 2014 for b oth our view$ the ,I15 downward trend is licely to persist$ re ecting a healthy marcet rebalancing on the bacc of more careful decision-macing. An an era of moderate ec onomic grow th and p erp etually low interest rates, investors w ill still b e as k een to find growth opportunities as investees are to secure funds3 they will bust get there more slow ly.
4 So what do we anticipate for 2016?A s w e move on from th e outstanding megafunding environment of 2015, w e ex p ec t th at foc us w ill b e on c omp anies p roven ab ility to ex ec ute. A lternative investors suc h as h edge and mutual funds w h o invested h eavily in th e VC industry ac ross a range of sub sec tors and h elp ed drive up p ric es w ill now b e foc using on th e grow th / b urn ratio and dow nside p rotec tion as w e move into an era of p ric e c orrec tion and greater c omp etition for c ash . A gainst th is b ac k drop w e antic ip ate a numb er of Trends for 2016 : O ngoing steady p ric e c orrec tion G reater investor sc rutiny and a c lear foc us on ex ec ution Flat funding rounds (in later-stage investment) Jising interest in early-stage$ lower-cost investments More cross-border investment E x p erimentation w ith models I nc reasing sec tor sp ec ializ ation ;hina will grow in significance vs.
5 MS and =urope Andia still promising but not iuite deliveringOngoing steady price correctionDesp ite th e inc reased c aution w e do not ex p ec t th is is going to b e a rerun of 2001, w h en th e N A SDA Q Comp osite I ndex fell 59 % on th e y ear. T h e mac roec onomic environment may not be as strong as anticipated$ but a sudden reset is not in the cards. Hrice c orrec tions of up to c irc a 25% ac ross a range of mature unic orns in th e last four month s, T ension b etw een caution and the ongoing q uest f or return oidd Z] n]dq ZYdYn\& Bryan Pearce, Global VC Leader, Strategic Growth Markets, E Y 2 0 1 5 w ill b e rememb ered as th] q]Yj oh]n Yn gn]jsmhhdq g^ [YhitYd [Ye] tg Yn ]n\$ Yn\ oith it th] high in eYnq [Ys]s ijjYtignYd nYdmYtigns g^ dYt]j%stYg] [gehYni]s& Dana Stalder, General Partner, Matrix Partners Qgm j] ngt YdoYqs gging tg hYn] th] oin\ Yt qgmj ZY[c Yn\ th] smn gn qgmj shgmd\]j& Jeff Grabow, US Venture Capital Leader, E Y Lh] E 9 eYjc]t is highdq [gjj]dYt]
6 \ tg th] hmZdi[ ]imitq eYjc]t Yn\ o] Yj] g^^ tg Y \isYstjgms stYjt in *().$ sg I thinc this q]Yj it oidd Z] Y n]jq o]Yc ]pit eYjc]t& Dana Stalder, General Partner, Matrix Partners Lh] ogjd\ is em[h Ytt]j& I^ qgm jYis] Y Ziddign \gddYj ^mn\$ qgm hYn] tg d]Yn] qgmj ZY[cqYj\& Qgm [Yn t inn]st it Ydd in Kidi[gn NYdd]q& Qgm hYn] tg tYc] Y ZjgY\]j ni]o tg g]n]jYt] hgsitin] j]tmjns& Jeff Grabow, US Venture Capital Leader, E Y 1 Mnicorns are Venture -bacced private technology companies under 10 years old with valuation of MS 1b or y investors inc luding F idelity and Blac k roc k , h ave already started as investors tak e a more p ragmatic ap p roac h to valuations ac ross th e b oard.
7 Greater investor scrutiny and a clear focus on executionA more disc ip lined ap p roac h to investment as w e move into 2016 means th at c omp anies already in th e VC p ip eline are going to tak e longer to raise a new round and c an ex p ec t more demanding milestones$ and are going to face hard iuestions around the path to breaceven$ profitability and positive cash ow. =ntrepreneurs will need to demonstrate prudence$ pursue slow-burn growth and learn to epecute as V; moves out of the c omp etitive h eat of an auc tion environment and into a more disc ip lined sale course for many start-up leaders the change in sentiment may come as something of a sh oc k.
8 M ost h ave not b een th rough any k ind of slow dow n and for some, greater sc rutiny is going to feel p ainful. H ow ever, th e sec ret to b eing a great entrep reneur is b eing ab le to navigate rough er w anies may also look to add older, serial entrep reneurs to th eir teams to b ring in ex p erienc e of w ork ing th rough a dow n c y c funding rounds will continue9gainst this baccdrop we eppect to see more at and down rounds. Jecent pricing corrections among well-bacced tech unicorns are a signal of a new valuation environment. T h ese mark et c orrec tions w ill b e an ongoing feature of 2016 , p artic ularly among mature V;-bacced technology ising interest in early-stage, lower-cost investmentsOe are already seeing evidence that some firms that had been baccing late-stage deals are now scaling bacc or avoiding these deals$ focusing instead on younger start-ups at lower values.
9 An 2015$ first-round funding secured the highest volume of deals accounting for ,5 of the Global deal share. Oith the annual number of V;-bacced epits with valuations of MS 1b or more averaging around 6 5 over th e p ast tw o y ears, unic orns only ac c ount for a small minority of th e mark et in terms of volume, even if th ey dominate in value terms. W e ex p ec t greater interest in early-stage investing through 201.$ in part because of belief that when th ese c omp anies mature th e c ap ital mark ets may b e more rec ep cross-border investmentCap ital w ill alw ay s seek th e b est op p ortunities, w h erever in th e w orld th ey ex ist.
10 I n 2014, US tec h nology investors ac c ounted for more th an h alf of all th e money raised b y London start-ups for epample$ and this pattern is xperimentation with modelsSome in th e industry are starting to form th e view th at investment p eriods w ill ex tend somew h at as th e ec onomy slow s. I n London, for ex amp le, p ress rep orts talk of th e rise of so-called patient Capital provided by V;s that are prepared to invest significant sums over a longer term. A c c ording to E Y researc h , th is h as b ec ome th e main sourc e of funding for UK tec h c omp anies. 1 2 Sourc e: CB Insights I Z]di]n] inn]ste]nt h]jig\s oidd ]pt]n\ Y dittd]& Kge] NCs hYn] inn]st]\ tgg ^Yst in tgg eYnq [gehYni]s& In ]Yjdq%stYg] inn]sting i^ qgm Yj] egning tgg ^Yst qgm [j]Yt] tgg gj]Yt Y dgY\ gn th] hgjt^gdig tg Z] eYnYg]\& Lg \g th] jight thing$ qgm n]]\ tg sh]n\ tie] oith th] hgjt^gdig [gehYni]s& ?